Windstream CEO Tony Thomas emphasizes ESG importance with Wake Forest students

2.24.2022 Article, School News
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Wake Forest University School of Business launched its ESG@Wake initiative Wednesday with Windstream CEO and School of Business MBA alumnus Tony Thomas serving as the event’s guest speaker.

ESG@Wake is a new initiative geared toward encouraging students to learn more about environmental, social, and governance concepts and thinking critically about how to apply principles at Wake Forest University and beyond. A total of $25,000 will be invested toward implementing student-developed ideas.

During the launch, Thomas shared Windstream’s ESG journey and the importance of creating solutions to ESG related issues such as reducing the world’s carbon footprint.

“By 2050 we can change what the Earth looks like if we take action and dramatically reduce our carbon footprint,” Thomas said. “Companies have to play a critical role in making that happen.”

The ESG@Wake initiative includes a video pitch competition open to all Wake Forest students. Windstream, a privately held communications and software company, is a sponsor of the competition. Thomas encouraged students to think boldly, but practically when developing ESG solutions and engage with students in various academic majors.

“The best ideas I get at Windstream, I can practically wrap my head around the how. We want to set big, audacious goals as a company, but we get there with a lot of small teams tightly aligned around a common set of goals. I encourage students to think outside of the schools that they are in to bring a different perspective to the discussion.”

Windstream was recognized as a Sustainalytics ESG Industry Top Rated company and a Regional Top Rated company in 2022. The company will be the first investor in the ESG Innovation Fund, an opportunity to further raise money to implement student ideas and solutions.

To learn more about ESG@Wake at the School of Business, visit:

Media Contact: Danyelle Gary,, 336.582.0622